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How Organizations Can Improve Outside Relationships with Business Process Solutions

  
  
  

How Organizations Can Improve Outside Relationships with Business Process Solutions

high five friday   435What do the following sentences have in common?

1.   “I wish I had been put on hold a little longer.”

2.   “It’s too bad I got paid for my services on time.”

If you guessed “They’re both things that have never, ever been said in the history of humanity,” you would (probably) be correct. Waiting is no one’s favorite pastime, and chances are you’re going to try to avoid it the best you can.  On that note, it’s also probably safe to say that slow business processes are never going to draw people to your organization, and they may even drive them away. Because of that, you could miss out on a lot of business opportunities.

Customer Relations

While the modern world is becoming more and more tightly networked through social media, customer testimonials and reviews are growing in importance. To prospects, your services might look the same as your competitors, but it’s the recommendations of other people that could potentially set you apart.

When customer service is a game changer and your business is on the line, casting it by the wayside can have substantial consequences. Many people picture customer service as smiles and friendly greetings, but employee disposition isn’t the only thing that counts. If your business processes are slow and outdated, that can be just as frustrating to customers as a grouchy employee. By streamlining those processes, employees can access information easier and faster to more quickly and accurately answer customer queries, and by providing online forms and portals, relations with your organization become more convenient and hassle-free. When you make yourself pleasant to do business with, people will come back and maybe even bring their friends.

Vendor Relations

Customer relations aren’t the only important relationships at stake when it comes to the efficiency of your business processes. Vendor management is another example, and it, too, can affect your bottom line. Accounts payable departments are often riddled with paper-intensive manual processes that create bottlenecks and slow down productivity, resulting in late fees and frustrated vendors.

Vendors appreciate customers who are diligent with their responsibilities just like customers want and even expect the same from businesses they’re purchasing from. Optimizing and automating accounts payable processes does more than save time and reduce the costs of paper processes – it also allows your organization to take advantage of early payment discounts and build positive vendor relationships with consistently on-time payments. Vendors will want to keep you as a customer and may even cut you a deal to do so.

Solutions like content management and business process automation bring a lot of organizational benefits, not the least of which is improved customer and vendor relationships. By eliminating efficiencies in your processes, you are not only saving money and increasing productivity, you are drawing more repeat customers and capitalizing on vendor discount opportunities. 

 To learn more about how you can improve operations and reap the benefits of a business process solution, check out our infographic below.

Download Infographic:5 Stages of Going Paperless

5 Sustainability Tips for the Office to Cut Costs while Conserving

  
  
  

5 Sustainability Tips for the Office to Cut Costs while Conserving

photo creativity 6 thumb[1]There’s some pretty cool stuff floating around out there in that giant space vacuum in which Earth currently resides (as it always has). For example, one planet named upsilon Andromedae B has one side that always faces the sun, resulting in massive temperature differences. The sunny side is around 2700 degrees Fahrenheit, and the other side is a balmy -148 degrees. If that doesn’t sound uncomfortable, there’s also planet HD 189773b – which rolls right off the tongue – where it rains sideways at 4,000 mph. Oh, and that rain is made of glass.

As you and most other people probably know, there’s not a whole lot of other options for viable living spaces if Earth was no longer in the picture, so I prefer it to stick around for a while. Here’s a few sustainability tips for the office so we can all help make sure that happens.

1.       Think about lighting

There’s a lot of ways to save both energy and money by being strategic about the use of lighting throughout your office building. One of the most substantial is considering the type of light bulbs being used.  CFLs use over 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last about 7 times as long, and LEDs use about 90% less energy and last over 40 times as long. Also try to take advantage of any natural lighting and install light timers and motion sensors in rooms that aren’t used on a constant basis.

2.       Recycle everything you can

Set up recycle bins around the office to reduce the amount of waste that will end up in a landfill. Recycling scrap paper is a great place to start, but there’s a lot of other things laying around the office that can be recycled too, like magazines, food containers, bottles and cans, and even electronic waste like printer cartridges and batteries.

3.       Turn things off

Set your computer monitor to turn off after 10 minutes of inactivity, instead of going to a screen saver. Turn off lights when no one is in the room. Unplug appliances that are not being used. Although these are great policies to keep in mind all day, they’re especially important when everyone leaves for the night. Turning off computers at night and using every saving settings during the day saves $250 per computer, per year. Also remember to turn off copiers, printers, and any other office electronics that don’t need to be on overnight.

4.       Watch your air conditioner and heat usage

Heat and air conditioner are responsible for a big portion of the energy used in office buildings.  To save electricity, try to adjust your thermostat according to the temperature outside. Harvard University suggests 74-78 degrees in the summer, and 68-72 degrees in the winter, but even adjusting the thermostat a couple degrees can make a difference.  You can adjust the thermostat even further over the weekend when no one is present.

5.        Reduce the use of paper

Ways to cut down on paper range from tweaking every day operations to implementing streamlined, electronic business processes. You can start using less paper right now by making sure you print on both sides of each sheet and creating a scrap paper pile next to the printer so employees can reuse otherwise wasted paper. For a more drastic approach with bigger returns, look into converting paper back files into electronic formats and switching from manual to automated processes. In addition to the conservation of natural resources and the self-satisfaction of knowing you’re saving innocent trees, this brings a variety of other benefits to your organization, from reduced costs to faster business processes to reduced storage space to higher productivity.

Office sustainability is a win-win: you save money, and you save the earth. By combining tactics as simple as these, you can make a difference in the toll business operations take on the environment. For more information on how DataBank can help your organization to cut costs and streamline processes by going paperless, contact us or check out our infographic below. 

Download Infographic:5 Stages of Going Paperless

How to Stop Looking for Documents and Get Your Time Back

  
  
  

How to Stop Looking for Documents and Get Your Time Back

pirates telescope 590x350Did you know that employees spend an estimated 30% of their time at work just looking for things? Assuming you work an 8 hour day, that’s 2 hours and 24 minutes that you’re losing to searching for information, every day. That’s over 11 hours a week. You can do a lot with that much time – drive from an office in Chicago to a Braves game in Atlanta.  Wait in line at the DMV. Watch the entire first season of Game of Thrones, and still have an hour left to - I don’t know – start the next season. You can probably get a lot of work done, too.

The point is that not having access to information when you need it means your productivity is taking a hard hit (yes, I do consider watching Game of Thrones to be productive. Obviously.) The good news is that this obstacle isn’t a necessary part of your day.  It’s a problem that can be fixed. There’s a lot of ways to actually going about doing that, but the first step to a lot of these options are the same – converting paper documents into electronic files. This in itself solves a lot of problems, some of which have nothing to do with knowing where your documents are. In addition to that, though, electronic files means organizing and searching your information is easier and faster, and it opens the door for other efficiency-driving projects in the future, such as an electronic document management system.

Maybe your organization already has that part down, or you’re at least part way there. It’s possible you’re in the 60% of organizations that have 6 or more content repositories, or the 31% that have over 20. Holy cow that’s a lot, and things get even more complicated if one of your tasks requires content that is spread out over multiple repositories. Many times, this is due to multiple solutions being used across your organization, possibly different ones for each department.  Regardless of the reason, this is where an Enterprise Content Management solution (ECM) makes a huge difference.

ECM is a versatile, scalable solution with a wide range of possibilities, and providing a single repository for all of your content, enterprise-wide, is one of them. ECM indexes every piece of content it takes into its system so you can find it with keywords, and if you’re storing information in the cloud, you can find it from anywhere. In fact, you may not even need to retrieve it. When you open a document using ECM, other related documents are made readily available if your ECM system thinks you might need them.

By taking measures to make information available to those who need it, employees can go from avidly searching for it for hours to having it given to them before they even ask. This is substantial not only because of the time saved, but for your organization’s relationships with vendors, customers, and stakeholders. When you have what you need, your business processes become much more transparent, and you can respond to others’ queries quickly and accurately.

To learn more on what enterprise content management can do for your efficiency and productivity, check out our guide to ECM below.

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4 Steps to Finding and Breaking Bottlenecks in Your Business Processes

  
  
  

4 Steps to Finding and Breaking Bottlenecks in Your Business Processes

business bottleneckI have a confession to make: I have a terrible habit of making to-do lists and then forgetting about them, resulting in multiple to-do lists full of the same things that never get done. I should probably start renaming my to-do lists to “Things I Should Do but Will Instead Just Repeatedly List Out.” How many things on your to-do list have been there for weeks or months? Maybe some can even be done in just a few minutes!

Your business processes should not fall under a list of things to be ignored and left alone, because you can’t reap the benefits of improving them if you’re not aware of them. It’s worth it to put the effort into assessing your operations and brainstorming ways to streamline business processes to make them more efficient and less costly, and uncovering bottlenecks is sort of like playing detective…so…fun right? Sort of? Moving on to Step 1.

Step 1: Figure out which processes are giving your department the most problems. Sometimes it doesn’t take much looking to find the bump in the road, but a good question to ask is “Which ones are causing the most stress among employees?”. That’s typically a pretty good indicator of where the biggest issues lie.  

Step 2:  Find the exact problem area within those stressful processes.  Many times, bottlenecks occur around decision-making parts of your operations – for example, invoice approvals. Most of the workflow may be moving along just fine, except there’s only one employees who has the authority to approve all of your organization’s invoices, resulting in a pile-up and an overall slow process. Just this one step is making a difference on all the following ones. It’s silly how much power one step of a business process can have, but once you identify where exactly the problem is located, you can begin to make steps towards higher business process efficiency.

Step 3: Figure out why these bottlenecks are occurring.  Are there too many invoices for one person to approve? Are they ill-equipped to complete that task due to slow software or some other reason? You may have to work your way backwards a bit to find the root cause of the problem, and there may be more than one bottleneck in a process. If that’s the case, it’s more beneficial to fix the largest one first, or else the rest of the process may not be affected by your changes.

Step 4: This is the most rewarding – this is where you get to fix the issue. Sometimes, the problem might be easy to fix. Maybe only certain invoices need to be approved instead of all of them. Other times, the most effective solution, which might be implementing accounts payable automation for example, may necessitate some outside help. Content management and business process automation are both highly effective business process solutions that can make a huge difference in the efficiency of your operations and can be scaled and fitted to your needs. If your problem isn’t easily fixable, this may be your next step.

The most important part is that you make an effort to be aware of opportunities for business process improvement and then take action, as that can benefit your organization in a plethora of ways, from reduced costs to increased productivity to simply less stress and a healthier work environment. Invest in a little business process analysis and respond to findings that are less than ideal. In the end, it’s not always easier to keep processes the way they are.

For more information on how business process automation and content management can make a difference in your organization, download our infographic below.

Download Infographic:5 Stages of Going Paperless

4 Ways to Prepare for a Fall Document Scanning Project

  
  
  

4 Ways to Prepare for a Fall Document Scanning Project

pumpkin scannerEverything is suddenly pumpkin-flavored. Halloween decorations are prematurely appearing in stores. Your whole office is sneezing, a large bottle of hand sanitizer has taken up residence on your desk, and you can’t remember whether or not you actually like butternut squash. Yep, it’s fall.

Fall is a time for preparations. Prepare for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas. We prepare by getting a flu shot, and we prepare by harvesting crops. These are important. Being unprepared has consequences and, a document scanning project has the same story.  By going into a project like this blindly, you run the risk of lots of wasted money and effort, but with a little bit of planning, the road will be a lot smoother. Here’s some things to check off your to-do list before getting started.

 

1.  Choose a vendor

This is one of the most important parts, and a lot of future planning goes into this. At this point, you may not even be sure what all you need. Consider your long-term goals as well as your current requirements and what role your organization will play in this project.  Will you only need scanning? Where are the documents being stored? Do you plan on implementing a document management system, or even Enterprise Content Management in the future? If you know you’re preparing for content management, it may be good to find one provider that does both.

2.  Review your retention requirements

These can determine what order you need to scan your files in, as well as if some of these documents even need to be digitized at all. If certain documents are set to expire before or shortly after they’re scanned, you might as well just keep them as is.

3.  Figure out what to do with paper documents after scanning

Do you shred them? Do you keep them? Feed them to gorillas? Fashion them into thousands of paper cranes and fill your boss’s office with them? Documents are typically kept for at least some period of time after scanning in case something needs to be rescanned for some reason. Your organization may have compliance policies about this that you need to be aware of, but regardless, they’re going to have to go somewhere.

4.  Plan an indexing scheme

One of the main objectives of digitizing your paper files is to improve organization and reduce retrieval times. In order for that to work, you need a solid, consistent filing system to make documents easy to find across your department or organization. This needs to be set up before the scanning takes place, so documents can be indexed as they are entered into your electronic system.

The idea of taking steps towards electronic, streamlined processes is exciting, but the value of it may be diluted with improper planning and subpar preparation.  Talk to your vendor about any additional steps you may need to take to make your scanning project a success. To learn more about why using less paper in your processes is a good idea, check out our infographic below.

  Download Infographic:5 Stages of Going Paperless

3 Important Steps to Championing a Change in the Workplace

  
  
  

3 Important Steps to Championing a Change in the Workplace

melting iciclejpg 86a13b2f0d893ac6Going through any big change can be hard. Being the leader of a change is harder.  We keep things a certain way because that’s how we like them, and convincing people to do things differently than how they’re used to is tricky business. We’re talking about a world where our local Starbucks running out of our favorite flavor of coffee elicits a look of flabbergast and a panicked “What?!”.  (Note: Do not talk to people about any changes before they’ve had coffee.)

However, without change there is no growth, and thanks to technology, the world is changing and moving faster than ever. Organizations who don’t improve their business processes in order to adapt will be left behind. Here’s a few tips on not only bringing change to the office without getting yourself uninvited to happy hour, but making that change successful and opening the door for easier improvements in the future.

1.       Prepare yourself for preparing others

Before you go spreading the good news of whatever it is you’re doing, it’s important to have a plan of action for communicating this change in the workplace. People won’t just take your word for it – they need a reason to believe you. Be able to produce thorough research and meaningful numbers to back up your claims and show how this new frontier will be filled with waterfalls and greenery, not new giants to battle. If you can’t effectively articulate your reasoning, no one will listen.

2.       Get everyone on board

Knowing what you’re going to say is only half the battle. Next, you have to sell it. One key to doing this is taking the focus off of what’s going to change, and instead put it on what’s going to be better and what’s going to remain the same. For example, in the case of business process automation, emphasize the aspects of their job that will be made easier. Will they need to do substantially less data entry? Will they have faster access to information? Tell them that, and explain why and how you know. The goal here is to replace trepidation with excitement and give people something familiar to anchor onto as they’re adapting to change in the workplace.

3.       Shout your success from the mountaintops

Was your project successful? Is it saving time? Is it cutting costs? Wonderful! Break out the champagne and party hats and TELL. EVERYONE. It’s important for people to know your efforts made a positive difference, and not just for gloating purposes. Especially if this is a small-scale change that could be rolled out to other departments or processes, when people get wind of previous success, they’re much quicker to hop on board next time around.

Implementing change in the workplace can be a bit of a challenge, but it’s made easier with attention to these guidelines. Remember to empathize with others and consider what their main concerns might be, and let that guide your approach to communication.

In need of some business process optimization success stories to back up your cause? Check out our customer testimonial of how Sarasota County overcame their paper overload below.

5 Ways to Empower Your Business with Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

  
  
  

5 Ways to Empower Your Business with Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

By Adam Bluemner

Once upon a time, the idea of attaining a paperless office seemed a bit like the business management version of scaling Mt. Everest. These days we’re all a lot closer to the summit than we might have ever expected.

The digitization of records of all kinds has done a lot more than save paper, though. It’s also made records archivable, searchable, sortable, and transferable—and businesses considerably more intelligent and nimble in the process.

But some types of documents and communication have remained stubbornly resistant to digitization. For these outliers, optical recognition software provides a solution.

Optical character recognition (OCR) software provides the ability to convert scanned documents and images into editable and searchable documents in a variety of output formats.

Consider five different examples of how your business can begin using optical character recognition to create efficiencies and cut overhead expenses:

1. Accounts payable invoice processing

APIt’s always hard to justify paying an employee for something that can be done just as well automatically.

Manually entering data from electronic or paper invoices into accounts payable records is one of those repetitive tasks that’s ripe for an efficiency improvement. If you are only creating payable records for one or two invoices a day, it’s probably not taking too much time. But if you are closer to double digits in terms of invoice processing, that amount of data entry is creating a significant overhead labor expense that’s unnecessarily cutting into your profitability.

OCR can help streamlines the processing of invoices for payables record creation. A successful OCR-enabled invoice processing system requires a couple key conditions. First, there needs to be a significant volume of invoices from repeated vendors or suppliers, as the invoice processing software needs to be configured to interpret specific invoice formats. Second, if your accounts payable module doesn’t natively support OCR document management, you’ll need to use your AP system’s API to import data from the OCR application.

If these conditions apply, and OCR makes sense for your business, you likely have an opportunity to realize significant labor-based cost savings through a more automated and efficient accounts payable process.

2. Expense reporting and auditing

AP2The people who study this sort of thing (the financial advisory firm,Stout Risius Ross, in this case) say that fraudulent expense reimbursement costs business over $1B annually. Yikes.

CNN article cataloged a number of the expense reporting fraud schemes that employees can use:

…Getting the cab drivers to give them blank receipts, asking for double receipts at hotels and restaurants, masking one transaction as another, using cash to buy something and getting a blank receipt and putting in for more than the transaction it was. There are an endless number of possibilities here.

An OCR based expense management reporting system can help defeat this type of expense management fraud in a couple of key ways. First, mobile-device based OCR client software can allow for policies that require real-time capture of receipts and other expense documentation. Adding this layer of transparency can dissuade potential fraud attempts. Second, auditing expense reports is a critical step in detecting and preventing fraud. OCR increases the ease and depth with which audits can be conducted, allowing auditors to easily search expense documents for particular transaction details.

3. Business card recognition

AP3Anyone who has ever attended a conference or trade show knows the pain of entering all those new contacts into a CRM or contact management system.

A capable OCR business card recognition app can eliminate this pain point, while helping to make you the first to follow up with all those new contacts.

Optical character recognition software often struggles with assigning semantic meaning to data—especially when the data originates in previously unseen 3rd party documents. This challenge is much easier to overcome in the case of business cards, though. The reason is that the possible range of semantic meanings from business cards is so much more limited than other types of business documentation.

Because of the easy time saving provided by OCR business card recognition, apps that support it are becoming increasingly common. LinkedIn CardMunch and Evernote Hello are two of the more popular choices.

4. Preserving meeting notes

Ap4You know you’re studiously taking notes on their unique requirements, but for all your client knows, you’re text messaging co-workers an invitation to meet later for happy hour. Using a stylus to hand write notes or simply relying on good old pen and paper solves that problem—but you lose the searchability of your notes. OCR apps for handwriting provide a solution.

Recognizing characters in handwritten notes is considerably more complex than standard printed text. In fact, it’s even garnered its own term: intelligent character recognition (ICR). ICR software providers still tend to talk about the accuracy of their technology in more glowing terms than customers do, but the end users are starting to come around.

A recent reddit thread discussing handwriting capable OCR tools included detailed descriptions of a variety of technical solutions with reports of varying levels of accuracy. One popular app was described as handling “handwritten text very nicely for me, even when the handwriting is pretty bad.”

The reality is that working with ICR solutions will require some manual review of notes if 100% accuracy is your goal. But for many note-taking tasks 100% accuracy isn’t a necessity. At minimum a handwriting ICR can provide the benefit of allowing search functions to find the note your are looking for, while allowing you to access the original document to get the full details you need.

5. Importing application and form submissions

AP5These days a lot of customer generated data is collected online and in the form of the other natively searchable documents. But there’s still quite a bit of data that’s collected that isn’t immediately searchable.

If you are collecting information from customers in a highly structured format and have a large number of transactions associated with the data collection document, you likely can benefit from OCR. Some common examples include:

 

-  Service sign-up forms,
-  Loyalty program enrollments,
-  Waivers,
-  Rental agreements, and
-  Applications.

Manually re-entering data is time-consuming administrative work that isn’t really generating any direct value to your business. Data re-entry also provides an opportunity to introduce data errors and slow business process cycle times.

Replacing your manual processes can create an easy source of savings and free up employees for more productive work. It’s not necessarily easy though. Generally, you’ll need to integrate the OCR program with the relevant business software system that supports the application. In many cases that will require working with your business software support provider to create the custom integration. You’ll need to weigh the investment versus the likely returns, but if the activity is repetitive enough you may find yourself able to generate significant savings.

Tips for choosing OCR applications

OCR software ranges from free applications to sophisticated programs which can be tailored and trained to look for specific information in your documents.

Some key feature differentiators you’ll want to consider when looking at options include: 

-  Support for both scanned documents and digital images (photos)
-  Efficiency of conversion time
-  Accuracy rates
-  Range of supported fonts
-  Range of supported languages
-  Export file formats
-  File compression options
-  OS compatability
-  Mobile capture capabilities
-  Color support
-  Ability to preserve original document layouts
-  Access to an API and integration capabilities

Many accounting and ERP systems offer integrated OCR capabilities as well. If you are looking for an OCR capable business management software system, or need to work with a technical support provider to integrate OCR capabilities with your existing software, feel free to check out our free software matching service.

 

 is a Project Specialist Manager at Find Accounting Software. He's been helping software buyers make informed investments in business software for over a decade.

5 Big Misconceptions About Business Process Automation

  
  
  

5 Big Misconceptions About Business Process Automation

misconception business process automationLife is full of misconceptions. Did you know that black holes don’t actually have any more gravitational pull than other space bodies of comparable size? Or that there’s no evidence that Vikings actually had horned helmets? And that goldfish memories actually last closer to 3 months, not just 3 seconds? Heck, that’s better than mine half the time. I know – you feel lied to, right? Like maybe we should be questioning everything now? Is this blog post real? Are we in the matrix? Is your goldfish still mourning the loss of its friend that you flushed last month?

 Although most misconceptions aren’t super important, life-altering pieces of information (depending on how much the fear of black holes has affected your day-to-day living), some might make a difference in one or two choices you make and could affect you that way. There’s several misconceptions about business process automation that could fall under that category, so allow me to clear a few of those up for you:

1.   A business process automation solution is difficult for employees to learn and adjust to.

This is sort of silly, because it would negate the entire purpose of your solution. The point is to simplify your processes and make them easier than they already are, not more complicated. Part of implementing a simpler solution is, well, it’s simple, so it doesn’t require a ton of learning. In addition, many solutions can integrate with programs you already know how to use, making their introduction almost natural.

2.   Administration of a business process automation solution is a pain.

Most of these solutions don’t require coding, and, once again, they’re purposefully easy to use. As a result, they’re easy to maintain, and you can easily adjust them yourself if your needs change.

3.   All solutions are large.

A software solution might sound like a huge change, but many times it can be just be a small change that has a huge impact. You can scale your solution to be as small or large as you want it to be. We recommend you start small, with one specific process, or even part of a process, that’s giving your department big problems.

4.   Processes must be document-centric.

Just because your department is already using electronic processes doesn’t mean they can’t be improved. Automation works great with data-centric processes, or really anything that’s repetitive and conforms to specific guidelines.

5.   You don’t need it.

Obviously, not EVERYONE needs business process automation. However, there are a lot of people who incorrectly think they fall into that category just because they don’t know the extent its capabilities or they have some sort of other solution. But not all solutions are created equally. The bottom line is if there’s a process that’s lengthy, cumbersome, or expensive, this is something you should look into.

Business process automation solutions are flexible, scalable, and easy to use – three things that make them great for increasing back-office productivity and reducing costs spent on manual processes.  If you’d like more information on how our solutions are helping other organizations, check out our case studies below.

business process automation case studies

Solving Utilities’ Most Frustrating Business Process Problems

  
  
  

Solving Utilities’ Most Frustrating Business Process Problems

utility enterprise content managementIf any industry is consistently changing our daily lives, it’s technology. It’s created kind of a weird world that we live in now – one where we leave stores to buy the product we were just looking at, online, and where we wake up and check our emails before we even get out of bed. This week, Apple announced an iPhone for giants and a watch that can do more than your first laptop could ever dream of, and after you purchase either one, your 5-year-old will know how to use it better than you do.

As technology affects our personal lives, it changes the way we work, too. Meetings happen over the phone or on Skype. Faxes are all but obsolete. Now, instead of replacing the coffee sugar with salt, your coworker changes your desktop background to some weird abomination that you can’t unsee.

The energy and utilities industries have solved a lot of problems with technology, but many departments are still struggling through manual, paper-intensive processes every day that diminish productivity. Invoices involve lots of repetitive sorting, scanning, and verifying documents, taking employee time that could be better spent on other tasks. Contract management requires careful attention to compliance regulations, and many versions of the same documents float around before approval, which can be confusing and lead to even bigger problems. There’s lots of inefficiencies residing in business processes, but technology has a way of fixing these too – it’s called Enterprise Content Management (ECM).

ECM is a powerful tool that solves many of the problems plaguing energy and utility operations, helping to cut costs and increase productivity. Ever spent too much time searching for information that should have been easy to find? Are employees constantly caught up in tasks like data entry and forms approvals? ECM organizes information by storing it in a single repository, accessible from any location on any device. Documents are keyword searchable, so employees can find what they need in seconds, from their offices or in the field.

ECM also provides business process automation, a versatile strategy that can streamline processes ranging from invoice processing, to forms approvals, to onboarding and more. If it’s repetitive, it can be automated, and if it’s automated, you won’t have to do it. What’s more, you can build out these processes yourself, without needed custom coding. As your organization grows and needs change, you can alter your solution accordingly.

All this barely scratches the surface of what’s possible with enterprise content management. Don’t let your manual processes leave you in the dust of a rapidly moving technological world. To learn more about how you can cut costs, save time, and increase productivity with ECM, download our free guide below.

utility enterprise content management

How to Crank Up Your Medical Device Manufacturing Productivity

  
  
  

How to Crank Up Your Medical Device Manufacturing Productivity

medical device manufacturingSaving lives is rewarding, and since you’re technically involved in the construction of the hardware doing the work, that kind of makes you a hero, right? Don’t go out and buy a red cape just yet though. As medical devices get more and more complicated with evolving technology, manufacturing costs keep rising and quality control requirements become even more rigorous and complex. More resources are needed to keep up with the increasing amounts of work, but manual back office processes among other inefficiencies prevent manufacturers from reaching their maximum productivity.

With the right tools these processes can be transformed by automating repetitive tasks and improving accessibility to information while promoting sustainability by using less paper. Saving lives and the forest at the same time? You’re practically Mother Teresa. Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is a powerful business solution that can do just that (transform your processes, not make you Mother Teresa), bringing organizations reduced costs and increasing productivity to levels hitherto deemed impossible. 

Within medical device manufacturing operations, there’s a lot of processes that could benefit from an ECM strategy, such as quality control and engineering change order processes, as well as contract management. Part of the problem with these is the time it takes to get all the required documentation together to move forward. ECM automatically captures information into its system as it arrives and sorts it by to type, making it searchable by keyword. You don’t need to organize a pirate treasure hunt to find needed drawings and forms, even if you did convince everyone in your office to call you Captain for the day. So put down your eye patch and revel in the fact that everything is available in one central digital content library, where anyone who has clearance can get to it. Ok fine, you can wear the eye patch, stop whining.

The easy accessibility that ECM provides will help to open lines of communication between individuals, departments, and plants (no, this does not mean you’ll be bombarded by all of Betty from Accounting’s cat videos). When information can be shared faster, employees can make better informed decisions more quickly to prevent mistakes that could lead to lower product quality or recalls.

To further drive the efficiency of these processes, ECM process automation can take care of tasks that don’t necessarily require your attention, such as data entry, document routing, and records retention so you can focus on higher value things like, I don’t know, ordering your lunch online (and other stuff, of course). Since ECM solutions are versatile enough to fit different needs without custom coding, you can integrate it with other applications and alter its settings to grow with your organization as its requirements change.

As the technology of the devices you manufacture improves, your technology should improve to keep up. Managing the construction of cutting edge medical devices with the same software you’ve been using for a decade makes no sense, and your organization is paying the price through lost time, lowered productivity, and expensive manual processes. Beefing up your operations with an enterprise content management solution is a powerful way to eliminate these inefficiencies so you can see what you’re really capable of. For more information on ECM, check out the super awesome guide below. 

enterprise content management guide

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